Testing the effect of consumer-model racial congruency on consumer behaviour

Forbes-Bell, Shakaila, Bardey, Aurore and Fagan, Patrick (2019) Testing the effect of consumer-model racial congruency on consumer behaviour. International Journal of Market Research. pp. 1-16. ISSN 1470-7853


Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) models continue to be underrepresented in advertising within the fashion and beauty industry. The present research project aims to evaluate the impact of same-raced model adverts on consumer behavior as well as testing consumer-model racial congruence with a specific focus on Black models and consumers, the latter of whom feel especially underrepresented in advertising campaigns. Two studies were conducted. In Study 1, 120 female participants (38 Black, 82 Caucasian) viewed 28 perfume advertisements featuring 14 Black and 14 Caucasian models. Participants rated their likelihood of purchasing the perfume and how much money they would be willing to spend. In Study 2, 99 female participants (34 Black, 65 Caucasian) made the same ratings in Study 1, but this time they rated images fragrances without any models present. Participants were divided into three conditions: (1) participants who received no priming, (2) participants were primed with images of Black models, and (3) participants were primed with images of Caucasian models. Both studies highlighted that Black participants showed an increased intention of buying as well as a willingness to spend a higher amount of money when the product advertised is accompanied by images of Black models. Consumer-model racial congruence was not supported for Caucasian participants. This article highlights a participant- model racial congruence for Black participants and underlines the positive impact of inclusive fashion on BAME consumers.

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